Fitbit and the NIH team up to transform medicine

By Folake Dosu  |  January 24, 2019

IoT-Fitbit-NIH-All-of-Us

Data gathered from wearables have the potential to give researchers access to data that could change the practice of medicine. Mashable reports that Fitbit and the National Institutes of Health have launched a digital health technology initiative. 

Called the Fitbit Bring-Your-Own-Device project, the initiative is part of the All of Us Research Program, a precision medicine study that aims to “enable a new era of medicine in which researchers, health care providers, and patients work together to develop individualized care,” according to the NIH. 

Launched nationwide in May 2018, All of Us has an enrollment goal of at least one million participants, and hopes to win over Fitbit’s engaged user base, who would be able to sync their accounts and provide data on health indicators such as physical activity, heart rate and sleep.

"This information in combination with many other data types will give us an unprecedented ability to better understand the impact of lifestyle and environment on health outcomes and, ultimately, develop better strategies for keeping people healthy in a very precise, individualized way."

"Collecting real-world, real-time data through digital technologies will become a fundamental part of the program," said Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us Research Program, in a statement. "This information in combination with many other data types will give us an unprecedented ability to better understand the impact of lifestyle and environment on health outcomes and, ultimately, develop better strategies for keeping people healthy in a very precise, individualized way."

In addition to gathering Fitbit data, researchers will also invite participants “to share health information through surveys, electronic health records, physical measurements, biosamples and digital health technologies,” according to the outlet. Fitbit assures users that maintaining anonymity will be paramount in this study.

"Every day we learn more about the potential for wearable data to inform personalized health care, and through All of Us, the research community will gain an even better understanding of the role wearable data can play in helping to prevent and treat disease," said Adam Pellegrini, general manager of Fitbit Health Solutions, in a statement.

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